The best things to do in Stalis (or Stalida) often revolve around its gorgeous stretch of pristine sand and sparkling blue seas. This once quiet village on the north coast of Crete has evolved into a desirable holiday resort without losing any of its quiet charms. The village enjoys a reliably sunny climate throughout the year – throw in sun loungers, sandcastles and waterfront bars, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a classic beach holiday.
If you’re looking to lounge in a waterpark jacuzzi or get a nice tan on the beach, Stalis is a place to kick back and relax on Crete Island. Further inland, it treats explorers to lush mountains, olive groves and spectacular coastline, all of which are accessible via car, bicycle, or on horseback.
What are the best things to do in Stalis?
1 Stalis Beach
Lively beach popular with families
Stalis Beach is a broad sweep of sand that covers the length of the town. The pristine white sand and shallow Mediterranean seas make it especially popular with families. It’s a lively beach in summer, with plenty of sun loungers, umbrellas, showers and volleyball courts available, as well as several water sports outfits offering trips on jet skis and banana boats.
Take a stroll along the bustling promenade lining the beach and you’ll see an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, cafes and souvenir shops. Beachside stalls sell snacks like pasteli and Greek doughnuts. In the middle of the beach is a cool shaded area made by a small group of native date palms.
Τοποθεσία: Beach Road, Stalis 700 07, Crete
2. Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre
Wildlife sanctuary dedicated to conservation
Aquaworld Aquarium & Reptile Rescue Centre is an animal sanctuary that gives a home to rescued and injured animals on Crete Island. The aquarium displays fish found in the waters around the island, like peacock wrasse and purple sea urchins. Besides local wildlife, they have a substantial collection of rescued exotic pets, including boa constrictors and a Nile crocodile.
The aquarium encourages hands-on interaction with many of its animals. You can feed turtles that wander freely around the grounds, pet chameleons, and take photos of the enormous pythons. The centre is committed to environmental preservation, so you’ll find lots of information on behaviour, diet and habitat, as well as on how you can help protect the animals.
Τοποθεσία: Filikis Etirias 7, Chersonisos 700 14, Crete
Ώρες λειτουργίας: April–October: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 5.15 pm (closed November–March)
Τηλέφωνο: +30 289 702 9125
3 Eat fried snails
Enjoy a prized local delicacy
Kohli bourbourisfi is an old dish in Crete made by frying snails in their shells, before garnishing them with vineg ar and rosemary. Lunch is popular as an appetizer, especially in the summer when it is served as part of a traditional feast in Ini.
One of the best places to try the dish is Μaria’s golden beach, a friendly and simple family restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating overlooking stalis beach. Μaria’s golden beach is a traditional Greek and international tavern at the same time. Maria’s golden beach is located on the coast of Stalis, it is a favorite place that offers a wonderful sea view from the covered terrace
Don’t be put off taking your family to Stalis, it’s a very friendly and relaxing resort, also there are activities in other resorts like Horse riding in Hersonissos, paint balling and football in Malia and plenty of fishing trips to take the kids on.
Stalis provides a wide range of fun activities Watersports on the waves off the coast of Stalis. The seas around Crete are warm from April to October, and there’s plenty of water-based fun in Stalis to keep you occupied. Rent a jet ski and go exploring around the coast or join a trip on a banana boat – try your best to hold on during sharp turns or risk splashing into the water.
For committed adrenaline junkies, also do parasailing adventures, which give you panoramic views over Stalis and the coast. Other lively beach activities include surfing, windsurfing and water-skiing. Kids of all ages will get a kick out of these exciting activities.
5. Take a tour on the Happy Train
The Happy Train offers a leisurely ride along the coast while you take in the sights along the 90-minute tour that explores Stalis, Malia and Hersonissos. The train follows the beach road between villages, stopping at various points so you can get some Instagram-worth photos. Each tour includes a knowledgeable guide who can tell you more about the history and culture of Crete.
The train stops in several villages around Hersonissos, so you can wander the streets and sample delicious local Cretan cuisine. Besides the coastal tour, the Happy Train does half-day tours to Mochos and Krasi, which are 2 mountain villages in the hills above Stalis that still maintain the traditional Cretan way of life.
Τοποθεσία: Agiou Ioanni 55, Stalida 700 07, Crete
Ώρες λειτουργίας: Coastal tour: daily from 10 am (trains leave hourly). Mountain village tour: daily from 9:40 am (Mochos on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Krasi on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays)
Τηλέφωνο: +30 289 703 3678
6. Shop for souvenirs on Agiou Ioanni
Agiou Ioanni is lined with with many boutique shops where you can shop for traditional Cretan crafts. Elaborately embroidered linen, carved olive-wood ornaments and handmade leather goods are all specialities of the island. Leather bags, belts and shoes are all popular souvenirs, but you’ll also find unique wooden tableware and lovely locally made jewellery.
Hatzis Leather Goods has several branches and is a popular stop for sandals and leather handbags. Cretan Flavor is a favourite for top-quality food products like wine, honey and olive oil.
Τοποθεσία: Agiou Ioanni, Stalida 700 07, Crete
7. Acqua Plus Water Park
Acqua Plus Water Park has a range of fun rides for kids and adults, from the thrilling near-vertical Tsunami slide to tubing down the lazy river. The Giants of Terror is a waterslide that towers over the park – you can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h as you go zipping down them. There are also smaller slides to accommodate little ones and a hydromassage pool to keep parents happy.
If you get bored of splashing about, Acqua Plus Water Park also offers a bouncy castle, table tennis area and a massage therapist. On-site restaurants and cafes serve burgers, milkshakes, ice cream and local Mediterranean dishes, while a small bar offers a wide assortment of exotic cocktails.
Τοποθεσία: Kastelli Road, Chersonisos 712 00, Crete
Ώρες λειτουργίας: May–October: daily from 10 am to 6 pm (until 7 pm in July–August)
Τηλέφωνο: +30 694 400 0044
8. Horseback riding at Amarillis Stable
Amarillis Stables is from where you can explore the area around Stalis from a different perspective with a tranquil horseback ride. Treks last between 1.5 and 6 hours and take you through some of Crete’s most beautiful scenery. Explore the coast, through shaded olive groves, and up to some of the island’s high points for spectacular views the Mediterranean. You can enjoy horseback riding on the beach between November and April.
The mounts are all Georgalidika horses, a unique breed native to Crete that’s known for its calm and friendly demeanour. There’s no need to worry if you’re an inexperienced rider as the trek includes knowledgeable instructors who will guide you in handling your horse.
Τοποθεσία: Irinis 26, Stalis 700 07, Crete
Ώρες λειτουργίας: Varies by season and tour
Τηλέφωνο: +30 698 032 8068
9. Have a drink at a beachfront bar
Nightlife in Stalis is relatively laidback and family-friendly, with excellent venues mostly centred around the town’s attractive waterfront. Most bars have decks that open right out onto the sand and offer sunset views of the ocean, while traditional Greek tavernas serve up delicious glasses of cold raki (sweet brandy flavoured with anise).
Maria’s Golden Beach has some of the best cocktails in town, as well as comfortable loungers and a laidback atmosphere.
In the Restauramt Bar Maria’s Golden Beach, you can enjoy your coffee, a fresh juice or any refreshment. Enjoy an ice cream in the afternoon sun. There is also a pool table for the competitive ones. There is a wide variety of snacks on offer from hot dogs to pancakes, salads, sandwiches and ice creams. You will find everything you need to cater for everyone in your family or group.